I also visited the Guide Dog for The Blind stand, where they are campaigning for more audio information on buses. In London, there are announcements on the bus advising passengers of the next stop, but this facility is not available on all bus services outside London. They are anxious for the government to be more pro- active in encouraging bus companies to install this facility. Sir George Young MP calls for an end to “game of chance” bus service for blind people
Getting off at the right bus stop is like “playing a game of chance”, guide dog owner Linda told Sir George, about her experiences navigating the bus network without sight.
"AV is essential for people with sight loss to live independently and, without AV, bus passengers with sight loss have to ask the driver to remember to tell them when they have reached their stop." said Sir George
Finding out more about Guide Dogs’ work, the MP for North West Hampshire heard that 7 in 10 bus passengers with sight loss have been forgotten by a bus driver. For a sighted person, missing a stop is an annoyance, but for someone with sight loss, it is distressing and potentially dangerous.
James White, Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs commented:
“Guide dogs do fantastic work getting people out and about safely, but the lack of AV acts as a real barrier to their independence. That’s why we’re urging politicians like Sir George to call for the installation of AV on all new buses, something which is cheap to do.”
AV doesn’t just help people with sight loss – tourists, older people and infrequent bus users all find AV useful. Guide Dogs released their Destination Unknown report this September showing that nearly half of survey respondents would use the bus more frequently if it had AV.
Note to Editors
For more information about Guide Dogs and its Talking Buses campaign, contact Liz Marshall in the press office on 0118 983 8173 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The ‘Destination Unknown’ survey was conducted between February and July 2014. 2,009 people participated in the survey from across the UK. 989 responses were received from people who identify themselves as having a disability, including 818 respondents who are blind or partially sighted.